Disclaimer: Veronica Mars does not belong to me. (But maybe it should, because I wouldn't have canceled the show.)
The President of the United States
Federal Bureau of Investigation
request your presence at the annual
to be held at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C.
the Twenty-First of September
at eight o'clock in the evening
It is 7:04 when Logan hears the agitated jumble of keys outside the apartment door. A moment later, he hears a muffled curse, followed by more metallic jangling. He is already stepping towards the door, arm extended to flick the lock open when Veronica bursts in. Her cheeks flushed and her hair is mussed, and she is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
"Honey, I'm home," she smiles sweetly, darting up to peck him on the cheek. They have not seen each other for four days (or is it four years? It feels the same to Logan) but he is only a bit surprised when she dodges his embrace and sprints towards the bedroom. Instead of her face, or her hair, his fingers graze the doorframe. He leans on it, sighs, and shuts the door.
"Is that all the hello I get, dear?" he calls after her, bending to retrieve her keys moments after she tosses them onto the carpet.
"Can't talk!" she gasps from the bedroom, and he hears a drawer slam. "Must dress!"
"What a shame." Logan, who is already wearing his tuxedo (sans cufflinks, coat, and tie), drops the keys into Veronica's purse, likewise thrown aside. When he goes to investigate the situation in the bedroom, she is tearing around like a small blonde hurricane, her street clothes scattered on the bed, dresser, and floor. He is just in time to see her shimmy into a slip, growl in a frustrated way as it twists up around her midsection and then fling open the closet door.
He sticks his hands in his pockets. "Anything I can do to help?" She is rifling through clothes at ninety miles an hour.
"No, not unless you've happened upon an eternally renewable clean energy source, because that would really help." She pauses to check her watch on the inside of her wrist. "Crap."
Logan steps over to the closet and leans against the doorway. "I take it you were late because you were helping that sweet old Mrs., ah-"
"Rosenberg. Yes. Old habits die hard. But we finally nailed the guy."
"Was it the creepy caregiver?"
"No, actually. AHA!" she snarls at a dress, tugging it off the hanger. "It was her son, if you can believe it. Couldn't wait for the inheritance money, apparently." She flings the silk over her head. "What a tool!" Her voice is muffled from inside. Then her head pops out, eyes sparkling at him. He is helpless to do anything but smile back.
Because this is the way that Logan and Veronica communicate: words that are light and witty and often laden with cultural references. He doesn't need to tell her that seeing her again makes his heart glow; that his fingers ache to pull her to him and kiss her senseless; that he loves her more than he will ever love anything in this world. She knows. And though he might like to, he doesn't need to her it from her, either. And so they stick to their choreography. Verbal dancing. What is said is never as important as what isn't.
He swallows. "You're wearing your black dress?" She tugs it over her hips and turns.
"Yup. Black. It's an FBI thing, kind of the official uniform. You wouldn't get it." Pausing, she swivels from side to side, pursing her lips. "You can't see my gun holster, can you?"
"Where should I be looking?"
"Upper thigh, of course."
"Hmm. Liking the view, but I think you're good." She has already turned again and is teetering on her tiptoes reaching for a shoebox. Without thinking, he moves forward to zip her dress, gently bracing a hand on her hip. He is tempted to lean in and press a kiss to the side of her neck but she interrupts his thoughts.
"Logan, could you…" She gestures toward the elusive shoebox.
"You know, I am not so sure that you have earned that privilege." She huffs and turned to face him, but he only grins innocently. "The least you could do is"—he takes a breath-"tell me hello, ask me about my day."
For the first time since she exploded into the apartment, Veronica seems to really see him. A slow smile grows on her face and she laces her fingertips around his neck. "Hello," she breathed. "How was New York?"
"Businesswise, excellent. In other ways, I found it…lacking." For a moment they simply contemplate each other.
He loves Veronica for her snarkiness. People have said that the way they talk is like watching a championship ping-pong game—rapid volleying back and forth, lightning fast. (Difficult to see affection—that's what they don't say.) That's their language. It is the best and the worst thing about their relationship. Sometimes, though, it's nice to deviate from the familiar choreography, even though the transparent moments are often frightening and make both of them feel vulnerable.
They both struggle. He is better at the transparency than she is (a claim he rarely gets to make, being better than her at something, considering that his wife is about to become an FBI agent). It doesn't make sense—he figures that his formative years were way more screwed up than hers—but this isn't a contest, anyway. Mostly it's just hard. For both of them.
He sees Veronica swallow hard, and then step closer.
Then again, that makes the moments of transparency all the more valuable.
"I missed you," she whispers, and when she stretches up on her toes this time she gets what she was aiming for. Just as he begins to slide his hands around the small of her back, pulling her closer, Veronica breaks away. "Shoes? Please?"
Logan groans but reaches up and hands her the shoebox.
"Thank you," she chirps, already tossing the empty box aside and tugging the shoes onto her feet. "You're very helpful as a fetch and carry boy." Watching her try to balance putting on one slingback and then the other amuses him.
"Is that the only reason you married me?"
"Of course not. Mostly I married you for your smokin' hot body." She winks mischievously and ducks out of the closet under his arm. This time, he catches her by the wrist.
"That so?" He steps closer.
She gives a little choked laugh as he tugs her toward him. "Logan, the limousine will be here in ten minutes. I have been in a senior citizen's closet for two hours, and I still smell like naphthalene."
"Mothballs. It's a P.I. thing. You-"
"—Wouldn't get it. Right." She has disappeared again, this time to the bathroom. More drawers opening and closing. A mysterious clattering, and some sort of aerosol product. He busies himself by rolling down his sleeves and fumbling with the cufflinks. He is tugging on his jacket when she reemerges.
"Isn't this great?" Veronica sighs, handing him a string of pearls and turning around to bare the back of her neck. "You, me…married life…zipping each others' zippers, buttoning each others' buttons…" The tiny clasp slips out of Logan's too-large fingers—again-and he growls with irritation.
"Why do I feel like I'm the one getting the short end of the stick here?" This time, he does drop a kiss to the side of her neck. (Another way he likes to communicate.)
"Hey, I can be useful, too," she retorts, turning and holding her palm out expectantly. "Bow tie?" He hands it to her and she slips it behind his collar, fingers deftly tugging it this way and that. All he can see is the top of her head. She's pulled her hair into a style that reminds him of a time they danced together, a long time ago. She hadn't asked. She had just grabbed his hand and tugged him onto the floor. They hadn't needed words.
Once, her gaze flickers up. Just for an instant. He wets his lips and opens them, and all the words that are making his heart pound and his breath catch are ready to slip off the end of his tongue. She grins and drops her lashes. Logan bites the words back. She doesn't need to hear them.
Completed in Chapter 2.